When bestselling author Toby Neal invited me to write for her Lei Crime Series on Kindle Worlds last year, I knew nothing about the new platform. I soon learned it was the licensed fan fiction arm of Amazon.
Months later, I was excited to launch my novella, A Snake in Paradise for the series, but it almost did not happen.
At the 11th hour, the Author Acquisition Manager at Amazon told me I could not upload my book to the Kindle Worlds platform.
Because I was a foreign author—foreign because I lived outside the U.S.A., that is.
You see, Kindle Worlds does not accommodate any of the international Amazon markets, only the US one. I’m in Canada, so that meant I was not eligible to publish to Kindle Worlds.
Imagine you’ve written a book that you can’t publish! It was a stressful time, especially as I was part of a group of motivated authors who had worked hard to co-ordinate a successful release. With book covers, graphics, and author interviews set to go on launch date, I couldn’t let this unexpected turn sabotage my contribution to the series. Luckily for me, I persisted and received some good information that allowed me to continue.
It’s almost been a year since I released my second Kindle Worlds title, SEAL of a Monk.
Since then, a dozen or so non-US authors have contacted me about what they should do to publish on Kindle Worlds.
I recently contributed to an article that Toby Neal wrote called: Writing for Kindle Worlds – the Good and the Ugly, in which I opined about the limitations of Kindle Worlds for foreign authors. Toby’s post is a must-read for any author considering writing for Kindle Worlds.
With my third novella for the Lei Crime Kindle World releasing next month, I thought it timely to blog about what you need to do if you live outside the USA and want to write for Kindle Worlds.
Because Kindle Worlds operates out of the US, non-US authors cannot access their site, neither to create an account, nor to upload a book to it. I have a third party American administrator who does it all for me. Her name is Jessica Lewis, and I have her permission to share her information in this post.
Jessica created an account under her own name and uploaded my files to it. In essence, she took over as “me.” Once we both agreed to the terms, I sent her my manuscript, book cover, book blurb, keywords, etc., and she uploaded them to her account. A contract was signed stating that she had no claim to any rights or ownership of my work, even though she was the one sending the information to Kindle Worlds.
The other part concerns payment.
The royalty reports for Kindle Worlds’ titles are not emailed to the owner of the account. The only way to access these reports is through Author Central. It’s ironic that although I can see my royalty statements, the money is not sent to me. It is sent to Jessica in USD. I had two choices on how to receive my payments. I could either give Jessica access to my Author Central account to pull my reports, or I could pull them myself and send them to her. I chose the latter.
Payment can be made via Paypal, (fast and easy), but the amount would be converted to the currency of the author’s country.
Personally, I prefer to be paid in USD, so I gather up three months’ royalties and send Jessica a statement. She then sends me a USD cheque via snail mail.
I also signed a W8BEN form for Jessica to keep on record in case she is audited by the IRS. Of course, this entire arrangement requires a certain level of trust. For her trouble, Jessica receives 5% of my earnings. Before I signed up with her, I also talked to two other authors who used her services. They spoke highly of her work. In dealing with her for more than a year now, I tend to agree. She is a professional, and I have recommended her to several other authors who have used her services.
Most authors have become accustomed to how easy it is to publish and make changes to their books on KDP. Unfortunately, you won’t have this freedom with Kindle Worlds if you’re a foreign author. For instance, if you need to make a change to your file after it is uploaded, you will have to go through your third party. All this requires time, so the immediacy and control you have with KDP is lost. It is unfortunate that Kindle Worlds and KDP don’t talk to one another, but each has different systems and sets of rules for pricing and acceptance.
Overall, my experience with Kindle Worlds has been a positive one for many reasons. With respect to the limitations around publishing as a foreign author, I weighed the options and considered it a worthy venture for me. I’ve developed a relationship with Jessica that works for both of us. This would be no different than finding the right editor or proofreader or another professional to help with my book. Having said this, just because it’s possible to publish to Kindle Worlds as a foreign author does not mean everyone will do it. With its current restrictions, it may not be worth it for some. It’s a decision every author needs to assess for themselves.
My hope is that as more foreign authors consider their options to join KW, it will serve to encourage the platform to expand its operations. It would appear that KDP is the perfect model to build off.
As an author who wants to reach the widest market possible, it is frustrating that readers in countries outside the US cannot purchase my Kindle Worlds’ titles. I’m not sure what it will take for KW to grow its operations, but as per Toby’s article: We’ve been assured by Amazon for over a year that they will be going international, but so far it hasn’t happened.
In the meantime, I’d like to share Jessica Lewis’ information if you are interested in using her services to publish your Kindle Worlds books.
Unfortunately, there are no other “Jessicas” in the marketplace that we are aware of. It would be so great to clone her!
If you know of someone who is doing this role, feel free to list their contact information in the comments. For now, this is the only way I know in which non-US authors can publish to Kindle Worlds.
I’d be more than happy to discuss your experience with Kindle Worlds, good or bad. Comments are always welcome!